Considerations for Migrating from Squarespace
Squarespace is a website building and hosting platform, offered as a SaaS, that is designed to allow users to create and design semi-professional-looking websites, without the need for coding or web development experience.
Many different types of organizations have adopted Squarespace for their websites, most commonly restaurants, professional service providers, nonprofits, consultants, photographers, and some smaller ecommerce retailers. Generally, organizations like the platform because it’s easy to get started with and doesn’t really require any depth of knowledge in the technical aspects of managing a website.
Squarespace is a great option for individuals, small businesses, and organizations that want to create a professional-looking website fast, without the need for coding or web development experience, and who are flexible on the design and finished product.
Over time, though, organizations develop stronger senses of their brand, their design maturity advances, and their old Squarespace website isn’t quite right. The team decides to rebrand and redesign the website, and build new pages, add a popup, and really flesh out the blog… but wait, is all this possible with Squarespace? For many, their organization simply outgrows Squarespace…
- The organization needs more advanced customization options for their website, such as custom post types, custom fields, and custom taxonomies.
- The organization needs to integrate with other systems, such as a CRM, ERP, or custom-built software and APIs.
- The organization needs to scale their website to handle a large amount of traffic or handle complex user interactions.
- The organization needs to have more control over the website’s data and the ability to interact with it.
- The organization wants to have more control over their website’s SEO, and wants to optimize their site for specific keywords and phrases.
As your organization begins to consider making the move, some themes emerge. We have extensive experience helping organizations migrate from Squarespace to WordPress and making the move simple, so your organization is going in the right direction. From exporting critical databases, merging user-activity, moving media libraries, and switching from Squarespace posts to WordPress posts, our engineers are experts.
However, migrating a website is not as simple as just transferring the code from one platform to another. There are many considerations your organization should take into account when evaluating whether or not it makes sense to switch. It’s important for organizations to think through several areas of the migration before making any decisions:
Assess the existing site structure
Organizations must start by understanding their existing Squarespace website’s content hierarchy, design, (if present), user experience components like navigation flows, and other technical details — to ensure that all efforts put in place during the build-out remain intact throughout the transition process.
This includes a deep dive into the existing architecture and content structure, as well as a review of the overall design of the site. This assessment will help determine if the current setup is sufficient and if any changes need to be made to the content or architecture before migration. The goal is to assess and understand what needs to be carried over to the new platform and what can be left behind.
Create a Migration Plan
Once the existing website structure is understood, organizations must create a plan that outlines the scope of the migration, the timeline for completion, and any risks that the organization may need to prepare for. Some plans may also address budgeting or time commitment and can include a place to track key tasks needed to successfully migrate from Squarespace to WordPress.
This may take the shape of a spreadsheet or just a quick list in a document, but it should list the unique URLs being migrated, and give your team the a place to track migration progress. For pages that are being exported, but aren’t being migrated to the same URL, the use of 301 redirects may be required, and this is a good place to track that as well.
Understand the New Platform
Organizations should understand the capabilities of their new platform and the capabilities it offers. WordPress is a powerful CMS with a wide range of tools, plugins, and themes available. Organizations should understand the differences between Squarespace and WordPress and make sure that the team knows how to utilize the new platform to meet the design and functionality requirements.
We suggest teams familiarize themselves with the general architecture of WordPress and how they will interact with it to manage their content. The specifics of exactly how your website is built will vary depending on the specifics of your organization’s needs, but we suggest you understand the role of themes, plugins, and page builders, and caches–any good development team will (budget permitting) provide some guidelines or documentation for the “correct” way to use the website you’ve had developed.
Preparing for Your Organization’s Website Migration
In this article we’ve discussed just a few of the considerations your organization should think about before migrating from Squarespace to WordPress. Squarespace is a great platform for individuals, small businesses, and organizations that want to create a professional-looking website quickly, but as time goes on, organizations can outgrow the platform. As you decide whether migrating to another platform, like WordPress, might be right for you, we hope this can bring your team some insight and perhaps pose some questions as jumping off points to get started with this.
We strongly suggest that before beginning the process, organizations should assess their existing Squarespace site structure and create a migration plan. We find that for many organization, just working with a migrations specialist to do a basic assessment and migration feasibility assessment can bring rapid clarity to the importance of making the switch.
If you’d like to work with someone to better understand if a migration might be right, or if you’ve already made the decision, and want to make the switch and migrate from Squarespace to WordPress, our migration specialists and migration engineers will make sure the whole experience is as smooth as possible.